PURPOSE: Triphasic waves (TWs) have been observed in the EEG recorded in patients with various types of encephalopathy, yet their genesis and significance is still debated. The aim of this study was to elucidate the localization of the cortical generators of TWs using EEG source imaging.
METHODS: In 20 consecutive patients who had encephalopathy with TWs, EEG source imaging of the first negative and the positive phases of the TW was performed. Three different approaches were used: equivalent current dipoles, a distributed source model, and a recently described spatial filtration method for visualizing EEG in source space.
RESULTS: Equivalent current dipole models failed to provide valid solutions. The distributed source model and the spatial filtration method suggested that TWs were generated by large, bilateral cortical networks, invariably involving the anterior frontal and the temporo-polar areas.
CONCLUSIONS: Source imaging localized TWs to anterior frontal and temporo-frontal structures. Involvement of these regions is consistent with the typical pathophysiological changes of altered consciousness and cognitive changes observed in patients with TW encephalopathy.